Next Wednesday is Dalila’s birthday.
Yesterday Anu and I went across to the mainland, ostensibly to buy fabrics to re-cover the diwan and dining room chairs.
In reality, Dalila’s birthday pressed heavily on our minds. We were acutely aware of past inadequacies and humiliations.
With skilled help, Anu and I both felt the only way was up.
Kalyan Silks sells the best textiles in Cochin and has two floors devoted to saris.
But I had failed to think it through: Two floors devoted to saris.
We were totally overwhelmed.
Beautiful, elegant and amused, female shop assistants ask if they can help.
– Who are we buying for? A bride?-
– No. Our wonderful cook –
– How old is she? –
Anu is flummoxed. But I have many years of professional training behind me and flatter myself into thinking I’m a shrewd judge of age.
(I also know the age of her sons.)
I hazard an expert opinion.
We are led to countless rows of saris, deemed suitable for Dalila. As an act of charity, a male shop assistant is summoned to help us out.
I choose a sari for Dalila. Anu chooses his gift.
We are almost finished but I know that every sari has a dedicated choli.
The material fortunately includes its matching length for a top.
– You want a blouse lining? –
– This material is see through –
Yes. We need a blouse lining.
– You want a skirt lining? –
After this, choosing soft furnishings is a doddle.
Photographs taken by me in Kalyan Silks. Art work taken, without permission, from the Kalyan Silks website